Nutrition and physical activity continue to be important as we grow older. A healthy combination of good food and exercise can delay or even reverse many of the problems associated with ageing, helping older New Zealanders to continue living independently and enjoy a good quality of life.
The recommended intake of several nutrients is greater for older people than for younger age groups. As older people often think they need less food than younger ones, it is important to focus on the nutrients in food. It can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need if food intake is small, so having at least three meals and between-meal snacks and keeping an eye on any weight changes is important.
Eggs contain many of the nutrients which are essential for the healthy ageing and wellbeing of older adults. These include:
- Protein which provides energy and is also essential for the repair and maintenance of body tissues. Older adults should aim to have at least 1-2 serves per day of protein-rich foods
- Vitamin D which has an important role in bone health as it helps our bodies to absorb calcium from food
- Vitamin B12 which is needed for normal blood and brain function
- Lutein which helps to preserve the eye against macular degeneration and cataracts, and may even reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
While some older adults may unnecessarily be avoiding eggs because of their perceived fat and cholesterol content, research shows that egg consumption has little association with plasma cholesterol levels and heart disease risk.
Due to the variety of nutrients found in eggs, they are an ideal food to include in the diets of older adults. They are also economical, easily prepared and soft in texture which makes them appropriate for people of this age group. Eggs are recommended as part of a healthy eating pattern that also includes adequate amounts of wholegrain bread and cereals, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, lean meat, fish and poultry and unsaturated fats.
More information about nutrition for healthy ageing.
And the Nutrition Foundation Bulletin